10th May 2021

CAS rejects Schwazer’s application to compete at Tokyo 2020

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected Alex Schwazer’s application for ‘provisional measures’ that would allow him to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, whilst he appeals an eight year doping ban upheld by the CAS to the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT). It is understood that Schwazer applied to the CAS on 29 April for special measures allowing him to compete, after receiving a letter from World Athletics and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declining to reinstate him before his eight year ban expires in 2024.

The CAS upheld the eight year ban issued to the Italian race walker in an expedited procedure shortly before the Rio 2016 Olympics. Analysis of a number of samples given in 2016 resulted in a 1 January 2016 sample being flagged as consistent with steroid use under the steroidal module of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP). The 1 January 2016 test was conducted as he was returning to competition following a three and a half year ban issued in 2013, following a positive doping test for erythropoietin (EPO) at the London 2012 Olympics.

Schwazer confessed to using EPO but argued that since then, he hasn’t been involved with doping. During a five year saga (click here for a full analysis), he argued that his sample must have been manipulated. 

On 18 February this year, Judge Walter Pelino of the Tribunale de Bolzano acquitted Schwazer of doping, which is a criminal offence in Italy. Pelino accused WADA and World Athletics of ‘procedural fraud’ in trying to defend its finding that Schwazer had committed an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV). Pelino found serious irregularities regarding the handling of Schwazer’s sample, and forwarded his findings to Italy’s Public Prosecutor. 

WADA disputes Pelino’s findings but as previously highlighted, it has little choice but to do so. Schwazer’s legal team are awaiting a ruling from the SFT, however it is unclear if it will arrive before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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